Just as it develops internal combustion engines for its automobiles, General Motors now plans to build battery packs for its new Chevrolet Volt.
To do so, it will establish a lithium-ion battery pack manufacturing facility to produce the Volt's battery pack system, which consists of lithium-ion cells that are grouped into modules along with other key battery components.
The plant will be located in Michigan, subject to negotiations with state and local government authorities. The preparation of the facility will begin this year; production tooling will be installed by the middle of the year and the plant will begin producing batteries in 2010.
The Volt's lithium-ion battery cells will be supplied by LG Chem. Compact Power, a subsidiary of LG Chem based in Troy, Michigan, will build battery packs for the Volt prototype vehicles until General Motors' battery facility is operational.
In June 2008, the General Motors' board of directors approved the Chevrolet Volt programme and Voltec propulsion system for production starting in late 2010.
For trips of up to 40 miles, the Volt is powered by electricity from the grid and stored in its lithium-ion battery pack. Beyond 40 miles, a small engine generator creates additional electricity to extend the range of the Volt to several hundred additional miles.
General Motors has been testing the Volt's 16kWh T-shaped lithium-ion battery, which is roughly 1.8m long and weighs nearly 181kg, for the past 16 months.